Cover for Carrol: Race News: Black Journalists and the Fight for Racial Justice in the Twentieth Century. Click for larger image

Race News

Black Journalists and the Fight for Racial Justice in the Twentieth Century

African American reporters covering history

Once distinct, the commercial and alternative black press began to cross over with one another in the 1920s. The porous press culture that emerged shifted the political and economic motivations shaping African American journalism. It also sparked disputes over radical politics that altered news coverage of some of the most momentous events in African American history.

Starting in the 1920s, Fred Carroll traces how mainstream journalists incorporated coverage of the alternative press’s supposedly marginal politics of anticolonialism, anticapitalism, and black separatism into their publications. He follows the narrative into the 1950s, when an alternative press reemerged as commercial publishers curbed progressive journalism in the face of Cold War repression. Yet, as Carroll shows, journalists achieved significant editorial independence, and continued to do so as national newspapers modernized into the 1960s. Alternative writers’ politics seeped into commercial papers via journalists who wrote for both presses and through professional friendships that ignored political boundaries.

“A thorough, well-researched, lively, and accessible account of the role of the Black press in the twentieth century. Race News is a sympathetic and politically astute analysis of the paths navigated by black journalists, and the role played by them, in many of the key struggles for racial justice in U.S. history.”--Bill V. Mullen, author of Popular Fronts: Chicago and African American Cultural Politics, 1935-1946

"Unquestionably stimulating and enjoyable. The details about how the alternative black press affected the commercial black press in the 1930s and in the civil rights era is not well known or documented and is quite exciting. Carroll unquestionably adds important nuances to what other scholars have written in telling the history of the black press."--Patrick Washburn, author of The African American Newspaper: Voice of Freedom

Fred Carroll is a lecturer at Kennesaw State University.

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